Tips to improving hand hygiene among facility occupants and meeting green and sustainable initiatives

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that appropriate handwashing practices can reduce the risk of foodborne illness and other infections; handwashing can reduce the risk of respiratory infections by 16 percent; and the use of an alcohol gel hand sanitizer in the classroom provided an overall reduction in absenteeism due to infection by 19.8 percent among 16 elementary schools and 6,000 students. With stats like this, it is no surprise custodial executives have questions about soaps and sanitizer best practices.

In this Manufacturer Roundtable, Facility Cleaning Decisions took the compilation of questions we received from readers and asked soap/sanitizer manufacturers to weigh in.

What does the recent talk of banning triclosan mean for antibacterial soaps and will antibacterial sanitizers be affected?
In 2013, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued Notice of a Proposed Rule on consumer antibacterial/antimicrobial/antiseptic soaps and body washes. Triclosan was specifically referenced in the FDA announcement, as it is the most commonly used active ingredient in antibacterial products intended for use with water. It has long been the subject of speculation with regard to producing potential health risks and microbial resistance. The proposed rule covers only those consumer antibacterial soaps and body washes that are used with water. It does not apply to hand sanitizers, hands wipes or antibacterial soaps that are used in commercial setting such as hospitals. (Note: The proposed rule has not been accepted yet. FDA does not have sufficient safety evidence to recommend changing consumer use of products that contain triclosan at this time.)
 — Isabelle Faivre, Vice President of Marketing, North America, Deb Group, Charlotte, North Carolina

There will be certain municipalities, schools or office buildings that will not want to use antibacterial products. This will create the opportunity for soap companies to offer products that use alternative antibacterial actives, in addition to offering non-antibacterial soaps. However, there are plenty of areas were antibacterial products are critical for use, such as food service and healthcare. For that reason, there will always be a need for antibacterial soaps and sanitizers in the industrial market.
 — Ronald Lewis, Associate Brand Manager, Diversified Markets, Henkel Consumer Goods, Inc., Scottsdale, Arizona

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